Early engagement with synthetic biology in the Netherlands: initiatives by the Rathenau Instituut

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Synthetic biology is developing at rapid speed. On the one hand the field is expected to contribute to greening the economy, sustainable energy and public health, for example. On the other hand, synthetic biology brings about risks and also raises tough ethical and societal issues. In order to facilitate timely dialogue on how synthetic biology should develop and what conditions should be taken into account, several organizations involved in technology assessment started working on synthetic biology early on in its development. The Rathenau Instituut, based in the Netherlands, is one of these organizations. The following chapter will describe and reflect on initiatives of the institute to facilitate early engagement with synthetic biology. An analytical framework is used to better understand and distinguish these activities. Public engagement activities will be divided into three categories which relate to different spheres of the science and technology governance landscape: the political sphere, the science and technology sphere and the societal sphere. The analysis also distinguishes between informing and engaging activities. The chapter then demonstrates how interaction between the different spheres is facilitated by the Rathenau Instituut.

Europe Explosive Expense
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmbivalences of creating life
Subtitle of host publicationsocietal and philosophical dimensions of synthetic biology
EditorsK. Hagen, M. Engelhard, G. Toepfer
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-21088-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-21087-2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEthics of Science and Technology Assessment book series
ISSN (Print)1860-4803


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